If you’ve followed us since the birth of this business a few years ago, you know we’ve gone through numerous changes – from 3 products to 8, from hand-wrapped bars to boxes, from one website platform to the next – change is the one thing we’ve learned is a guarantee in this business (and any business, I would assume). With each change comes a fair amount of uncertainty, doubt, and fear – those nasty, butterfly-in-your-stomach, gut-wrenching, keep-you-up-at-night emotions that stop every business owner in their tracks and have them headed for the nearest exit.
So Gordon and I were experiencing one of those moments last week as we were making some final revisions to our website. I’ll be honest – we cycle through these moments on a weekly basis – ok, maybe even a daily basis when we’re having a really bad season. By God’s grace — and many “debriefing” sessions — we always get to other side and keep trucking along. But an extremely bad habit we have when we’re amidst one of these periods of doubt/fear/uncertainty is looking at other companies for “inspiration” (aka: comparison…).
We really should know better by now. Because with every new “about us” page we read or each article/blog that tries to convince us of the “best business model,” we walk away with even more doubt…more uncertainty…more fear. As they say, “the grass is always greener…”
Knowing this happens every single time, what, then, compels us to look at other businesses and compare? Well first, we rationalize: it’s market research, we’re studying trends, we’re getting to know our competition, blah blah blah. Then, we try to fit our existing vision into the mold of another company’s vision, thinking it’ll only make things better. And before you know it, Gordon and I are in left field talking about something so far-removed from our original vision that we hit a wall. We wander around in no man’s land because we’re now trying to live someone else’s vision and not our own. It’s usually at that point when we catch ourselves and give each other “the look” — the “ah crap, we’ve done it again” look.
This entire process occurs over a period of 1-2 days — after which we bounce back into our reality. We remind ourselves of our vision, and beyond that, we remind ourselves of our whys. Why did we, a soap company, pursue the social entrepreneurship route? Why did we choose these non-profit partners? Why does our very branding contain the sentiment, “thought of you?” All of the responses to our whys point directly back to our core values – those pillars that make up our characters and form the foundation for each and every one of our decisions (business and personal). And when we recall those answers, we smile, roll up our sleeves, and get right back to work.
“The grass is greener…where you water it.” – Neil Barringham
Yes, let’s keep watering.
P.S. Last chance to have 10% of your purchase go towards Building Futures!! Also, visit their website to learn about more ways to extend your support. A wholehearted thank you to those whose purchases have impacted them this month!!!